- The Koula prospect onshore Gabon is reported to have produced "encouraging" production test results, which soon could turn into oil production here. The positive results at Koula are adding to other recent encouragements for the oil industry in Gabon, which until recently was stagnating.
The British oil company PanOcean and Shell Gabon - a Gabonese subsidiary of the Dutch oil giant Shell - today announced the results from their production test at Koula, onshore Gabon. "Over the period of a six day test, oil rates of 4,000 barrels per day were produced at stable wellhead flowing pressures," the two companies said in a statement released today.
An oil flow of 4,000 barrels per day is a remarkable result. Together with possible further wells at Koula, this could mean an economically sustainable production. The nearby and operational Etame field started producing at comparable flow rates.
The Koula prospect is located in the Awoun permit, south-east of Gabon's second largest port town, Port Gentil. The Awoun permit on the coastal plain of Gabon is the less explored of four major prospects in this onshore region, including Obangue, Maghena and Ozigo. The Obangue prospect is already one of Gabon's major onshore oil producing fields.
According to PanOcean, the result of the production test at Koula is "encouraging for the development of the field." Shell and PanOcean were currently "determining the feasibility of a development programme," according to the statement. Shell Gabon, the operator, and PanOcean each have a 50 percent interest in the well at Koula.
The 1,112 square kilometre exploration permit of the Awoun Concession is operated by Shell Gabon due to Shell's "long history of highly successful operations" in the country, according to PanOcean. Shell is the major foreign oil company in Gabon. PanOcean is contributing to the cooperation with its operations and oil export infrastructure at nearby Obangue.
The current announcements of new oil discoveries onshore Gabon come after several small and large oil companies - mainly based in the USA - recently increased their exploration efforts in Gabon. Only a few years ago, Gabon had been widely given up as a location for new oil investments. This was due to the fact that the country's oil reserves were among the first to be exploited in Africa and known reserves were rapidly being depleted. So far, the all time peak of Gabon's oil production was reached in 1997, with 371,000 barrels per day. In 2003, this had fallen to under 240,000 barrels per day.
Due to Gabonese and US government incitements to explore new oil resources in Gabon, the country's proven oil reserves have doubled since 1996 and have now reached an estimated 2.6 billion barrels. Production is however still decreasing, although at a much slower rate than in the late 1990s. The tide somewhat turned last year and new discoveries are steadily announced.
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